Six Ways to Shop Smart and Save

We all could use some help when it comes to saving money.  Ever go shopping for a sweater or blouse and end up with a skirt or slacks to match, plus shoes? Or maybe a trip to buy a new phone and you walk out with a phone and a digital camera?  And have you ever left Target with just one item? Hey, you just went for shampoo, after all—how did all those other things end up in your basket and on your credit card? Impulse spending is a budget breaker and it doesn’t have to be your primary mode of shopping. Here are a few tips to help you with impulse buying and other ways to save money.

  1. Don’t shop on payday.  This is when you have the most money.  You haven’t paid the bills or put money away for savings.  It’s crazy, but somehow we believe that we have more money than we really have.  Pay your bills before you head out to the mall.
  2.  Don’t shop for groceries on an empty stomach.  This is a universal rule.  It never fails–if you shop when you are hungry, things talk to you from the shelves and freezers. The shopping list (which you should always have) goes out the window and so does the grocery budget for the month.  Shopping when hungry could also cause you to stop for fast food on the way home because you can’t wait to fix something to eat.
  3.  Visit thrift stores and consignment shops.  These stores have beautiful clothing that is in excellent condition.  All it takes is a little searching to find a treasure or two at a fraction of the cost.  Name brand clothing can be found here also.  Don’t rule out this type of shopping—who will know it wasn’t new?   
  4. Ask for a rain check if a sale item is out of stock.  Some stores don’t give them for certain sale items, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.  A rain check can save you money.  Don’t buy a six dollar case of water if you can get it for two dollars with a rain check.  Buy up to the limit you are allowed to purchase and stock up. 
  5. Bargain shop when looking for services as well.  There’s no rule that says you have to go with the first plumber that you call.  Companies don’t always charge the same amount for the same services.  Get on the phone or the internet and check two or three places to give you a good idea of how the prices stack up.  Choose the one with the most services for the lowest price.  If you are not sure, ask a friend who may have had the same need that you do now.  
  6. Buy gifts throughout the year.  Finding gifts throughout the year saves money. Don’t wait until right before the holidays or someone’s birthday.  Make a list of birthdays by the month and keep in mind who you need to buy for when you are shopping sales. Sales after Christmas are the perfect time to find all sorts of merchandise that would make good gifts for the following Christmas.  Think of the stress you are saving yourself because you are never without something to choose from for gift giving.

 It takes effort to start being a saver, but once you consciously choose to be a smart shopper, it will become second nature. Now, that money you are saving? Put it in a savings account! You knew I’d say that, didn’t you? 

About Karen

Karen Karsten, CPCC, CAC, has had several business careers, in government, finance, retail and publishing. Each career was a building block that helped her create the life she has now as a coach, writer and executive director of Rich Chicks and Creative Principle of Think You Can LLC.

Her companies, Think You Can (www.thinkyoucan.net) and Rich Chicks (www.richchicks.org) both explore the magic of prosperity and creating clarity about life values. Karen has total faith in the magic of belief. Notice how that works either way: belief of magic, magic of belief. Magic is there—in you, too. Take a moment right now and honor the magic in you.

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